Cam Newton is back from shoulder surgery that kept him from throwing since late March, and took his first throws in the Panthers locker room on Monday.
Newton’s been on the biggest stage the NFL has to offer at the Super Bowl, but on this particular morning he was in a long-sleeve shirt and shorts, playing catch with Ryan Vermillion, the head athletic trainer.
The video was dramatic, showing Newton lacing up his shoes, walking forward in slow motion, his calves bulging, to play catch with Vermillion. Bill Voth of Panthers.com described it as a “silly scene” because of Newton’s outfit and the multiple cameras going around while he threw in the locker room.
Newton still isn’t fully healthy, but felt good enough to throw for the first time in a few months. “Obviously, it's still not 100 percent, but seeing the ball come out of my hand in a throwing motion was good.”
He also got more specific with the way that he felt he wasn’t fully recovered yet. “When I say it's not 100 percent, I'm noting the range of motion part,” Newton said. “Like if you sleep with your legs hanging off your bed the whole night, you're going to wake up and be super stiff. Or like sitting on your hands, or sitting in an awkward position and finally getting up and moving – that's how I feel.”
Newton threw 45 passes to Vermillion — three sets of 15 from three different throwing angles.
This past weekend, Newton stressed the importance of little details to campers at his 7-on-7 tournament. He then took it another step, and said that he wants to be deserving of a Super Bowl ring — the one thing he’s missing.
“I’m looking at my life right now and I’m saying, ‘I’m missing one thing: I want a Super Bowl,’” Newton said via the Charlotte Observer. “Yeah, but it’s really certain things that you have to really fine-tune and say, ‘Am I deserving to be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback? How can I push myself to be a better me?’”
He’ll have new, young weapons to work with in those efforts in 2017 draftees Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel.
After a rough 2016 season, Newton can start with a clean slate once his shoulder is healed. He had been dealing with the injury since Week 14, and to have an offseason of recovery will help him chase those Super Bowl dreams.
Maybe the Panthers will produce another dramatic video or two along the way.